Griffin Gazette

January 2018


Dear Parents,

The second semester is already here and it is always a busy time for Griffin students. Please check our website and newsletter to stay informed of all registration dates, STAAR testing dates, extra-curricular activities, etc.

TEA has released both Griffin’s School Report Card (SRC) for 2016-17 and the Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). The reports have been sent home to you but can also be found on our campus website. The report provides information concerning student performance on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), as well as information on student enrollment, class size averages, and financial expenditures. Griffin received Distinction Designations in Top 25% Closing Perform Gaps and Postsecondary Readiness. There will be an informational meeting on the School Report Card and TAPR on Tuesday, January 30 at 8:00am in the library. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call 469-633-4900. You can access your report at:

Our PTA continues to support our students and teachers in many wonderful ways. Last month, the staff was treated to a cookie exchange. We want to thank all of the families who cooked and brought goodies for the teachers. The treats were greatly appreciated and truly enjoyed over the holidays.

I am looking forward to an exciting second semester as we embark upon new academic and extra-curricular challenges.


Elizabeth Holcomb





- FISD requires written documentation whenever a student is absent for all or part of a day. Calling the office does not excuse an absence. Please send an email or hand written note stating the reason for the absence to The Attendance Clerk.

- A parent note/email or doctor’s note is required to excuse the absence. All notes/emails must be received by the office within 3 school days of the absence. If a student is absent due to illness for more than 4 consecutive days, a doctor’s note is required to excuse the remaining days of the illness.

- A parent note/email must be submitted for any family trip or vacation less than 3 days in length. For 3 days or longer, an Extended Absence Request form should be submitted to the office. The form will be reviewed by the Assistant Principal. Only one such trip or vacation per family, per year, may be requested.

- Over the course of a year, FISD guidelines allow a total of 8 absences (full or partial days) to be excused for any reason by a parent note/email. All notes/emails must be received by the office within 3 school days of the absence. Any additional absences may be reviewed by an Assistant Principal. At that time a student may be placed on an Attendance Contract.

- Parent notes/emails cannot excuse a tardy. A tardy is only excused if there is a failure in FISD transportation.

Refer to Frisco ISD Attendance Policy for additional information

Attendance information for your child is available on the Home Access Center (HAC). If you cannot remember your password, you may retrieve it at

Please contact the data/attendance clerk at Griffin Middle School at 469-633-4907 if you have specific attendance questions about your child. Medical and dental personnel may FAX excuse notes directly to 469-633-4950.


Dear Griffin Families and Students:

The peak of the cold and flu season is upon us. To prevent widespread flu in the school, it is recommend that your child stay home from school if experiencing flu or cold symptoms. To decide whether or not to send your child to school, please consider the following guidelines:

Consider keeping your child at home for an extra day of rest and observation if he or she has any of the following symptoms:

· Very stuffy or runny nose and/or cough

· Mild sore throat (no fever, no known exposure to strep)

· Headache

· Mild stomach ache

Definitely keep your child at home for treatment and observation if he or she has any of these symptoms:

· Fever (greater than 100 degrees by mount and your child may return to school only after his or her temperature has been consistently below 100 degrees, by mouth, for a minimum of 24 hours)

· Vomiting (even once)

· Diarrhea

· Chills

· General malaise or feelings of fatigue, discomfort, weakness or muscle aches

· Frequent congested (wet) or croupy cough

· Lots of nasal congestion with frequent blowing of nose

To help prevent the flu and other colds, teach your children good hygiene habits:

· Wash hands frequently

· Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth

· Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, use a paper tissue, throw it away and then wash hands

· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Colds are the most contagious during the first 48 hours. A child who has a fever should remain at home until "fever free" for a minimum of 24 hours. A child who has started antibiotics needs to be on the medication for 24-48 hours before considered non-contagious and able to return to school. Often when a child awakens with vague complaints (the way colds and flu begin) it is wise to observe your child at home for an hour or two before deciding whether or not to bring to school. Your child should be physically able to participate in all school activities on return to school. Keeping a sick child at home will minimize the spread of infections and viruses in the classroom.

It’s not too late to get a flu shot! Please consider getting the shot for your student and family. Flu season can last until Spring. When calling to report your sick student, please give us details of their illness. We are required to report flu and flu-like symptoms to the Collin County Health Department for tracking purposes.

Thank you in advance for helping make this year at school as healthy as possible.

School Nurse,

Vanessa Lendrihas, RN

Upcoming Dates

January 15th - Martin Luther King Jr Day (No School)

January 29th - Rising Freshman Information Night (please check specific high school website for additional information)

February 5th - 9th - Counselor Appreciation Week

February 19th - President's Day (No School)

February 23rd - End of 4th 6 weeks

Deliveries to School

Griffin Middle School maximizes learning time by minimizing classroom disruptions. The office staff will only accept deliveries for students in certain circumstances from individuals listed as guardians or emergency contacts. All items left for students in the front office need to be clearly labeled with the student’s name and grade marked on the actual item with a Sharpie. Smaller items such as eye glasses, cell phones, or house keys must be placed in zip lock bag with the name and grade label inside the bag or marked on the bag with a Sharpie.

• ACCEPTABLE ITEMS FOR DELIVERIES These include student lunches, eye glasses, cell phones, house keys, or notes regarding changes in after school transportation. Lunches should have the child’s name and grade written directly on the lunch bag. These items will be delivered to students at their lunch period. Although deliveries cannot be guaranteed at any other time, the office staff will attempt to distribute acceptable items for delivery after the lunch period.

• UNACCEPTABLE ITEMS FOR DELIVERIES Unacceptable items include homework/classwork (regardless of due date), projects, classroom supplies, instruments, PE clothes, uniforms, etc. These items may be placed on the grade level cart in the office and will be distributed to students at their lunch period only.

• ITEMS NOT ACCEPTED IN THE FRONT OFFICE OR CAFETERIA Flowers, balloons, or other gifts, even on special occasions, such as birthdays, may not be brought or delivered to school.

We strongly discourage parents from signing their child out of school for a delivery, as this is a disruption to the learning environment for your child and his or her classmates, and would result in an unexcused absence. Learning to problem solve when an item has been forgotten at home is an important lesson for students.

Lunch Policy

Parents having lunch with their child must sit at the designated guest tables. Only the parent’s child may sit at the guest table with the parent and parents may not visit other tables. By law, a parent may only bring food for their child. Please wait for your child at the guest tables after signing in through the main office.

Also, parents may drop off food for their child only. By law, students are not allowed to share food or have food brought in by anyone other than their parent/guardian.


Welcome to the 2nd semester Gators! Your counselors are so excited to start the new semester and work with your students. Registration for the 2018-2019 school year will be quickly approaching so keep an eye out for the important dates regarding registration at Griffin.

Rising freshmen will be attending high school meetings on January 29th at the following times:

Wakeland High School Rising Freshmen: 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Parents with last names A – M will attend the auditorium presentation first.

Parents with last names N –Z will attend the Electives Fair in the Cafeteria first.

Your 8th graders (rising freshmen) are invited to attend.

Lone Star High School Rising Freshmen: 6:30 – 7:15 p.m. in the auditorium first and then you will be excused to meet with the coaches, Fine Arts teachers, and clubs/organizations in the cafeteria until 8:00 p.m.

Frisco High School Rising Freshmen: 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. – meet and greet clubs/organizational fair (Auxilliary Gym)

6:30 – 7:15 – Parent info sessions with counselors (Auditorium.)

7:15 – 8:00 p.m. – Pep Rally (Competition Gym)

I will send home the courses they requested for high school during the 3rd week of January. You can make any changes in your students’ requests if you wish. For any questions you have about courses please ask at the Rising Freshmen meetings so you have a clear understanding of your students’ coursework.

Then on February 5th, 2018 your students will bring back their SIGNED course request verification forms to GMS. Next, the counselors from all 3 high schools will be here at GMS to meet with your students to verify their course requests for 2018 -2019.

***Please make sure you attend the Rising Freshmen meetings to get your questions answered for the particular high school your student is required to attend.

We are having a blast working with your students this year and can’t wait to start the second semester with all of our Gators!

Your Counselors,

Mrs. Welsh-Roe 7th/8th grade counselor & Mrs. Renegar 6th /7th grade counselor

6th Grade

Social Studies

Our Gator explorers persevered through the challenges of our North America Unit and proved that they were ready for further discoveries. Their last adventure took them to our neighbors in South America and the Caribbean, where we examined the importance of the Amazon Rainforest, analyzed the impact of European colonization and religion, and how the economies of Latin America affect the rest of the world.

Having completed the Western Hemisphere right before the Winter Break, we have since set out to the birthplace of Western Civilization & History, the continent of Europe. This extensive tour through the region takes us to the roots of Democracy, will enlighten us with the Renaissance, show us the sadness and triumphs of our world at war, and introduce us to the European Union’s efforts to improve the region’s economy and preserve their environment. We'll then leave for Russia, discovering just how much Europe inspired the country to impersonate its western neighbor as well as alter its governmental structure for decades. We'll take a trip along the Trans-Siberian Railroad revealing all the cultures and energy riches of a country spanning across eleven time zones and enjoy some folklore before setting off for Africa.


We can’t believe we are already half way through the year! Time sure flies!!

Our 6th graders did an outstanding job with our Module 4 unit where we worked on developing a conceptual understanding of negative numbers by using models to add, subtract, multiply, and divide integers. We ended this module by plotting points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane and solving real-world problems with multiple representations and we even did some fun graphing with the Grinch right before the Winter Break.

We have now moved on to Module 5; we will be learning all about algebraic expressions and working on mastery of equations and inequalities. Once we have completed our algebraic expressions and equations unit, we will be moving right along to Module 6 which is our super fun Geometry unitJ

The students are doing great with all of the new concepts they are being introduced to this year. Please remind your student to keep up with their Imagine Math! We are so proud of our 6th graders hard work and effort!

~Mrs. Coffman and Mrs. Kerai


We hope everyone had a wonderful and restful winter break. In Science, we are starting a new unit (physics)with the new year. The students always seem to enjoy this unit because they get to do a lot of hands on labs using force, motion,

friction, and gravity.


Can you believe that the first semester is complete?

In 6th grade ILA, we have continued to work on perfecting our grammar skills. Comma rules were a little tricky, but your children were up to the task. Our students are currently delving deeper into this topic to work on sentence variety through complex and compound sentences. Their level of understanding and being able to truly comprehend the construction of a sentence has improved tremendously since the beginning of the year. Now, we are tackling Latin and Greek prefixes.

As we enter into this part of the year, we like to take some time to re-establish norms and expectations. One of the keys to being successful is listening to and following directions. So, with this next 6 weeks, we will be taking some time to look at what it really means to thoroughly go through a rubric to get their desired results. In addition, our focus will be reading comprehension skills such as inference, characterization, and short answer responses. We have seen tremendous growth in our students already this year, and we have no doubt we will continue to see more. Please ask your child about what he or she is learning in ILA to reinforce concepts and ideas at home. Thanks for your support!

7th Grade

Texas History

We are wrapping up the semester with the Texas Revolution, the Texas Republic and Texas being annexed by the USA. We have studied the reasons why Texas went into a Revolution and the famous battles such as the Alamo, Goliad and San Jacinto. Following the battles will the years of the Republic of Texas and the leadership of famous Texans such as Sam Houston.

Math & PAP Math

Be sure to check Google Classroom for weekly agendas, copies of assignments and answer keys, instructional videos, as well as reminders for upcoming assessments. Information is in the ABOUT tab, and linked assignments are in the weekly agenda during the week assigned.

In January all students will learn about Linear Relationships in tables, graphs and

equations as well as Scale Drawings and Similar Figures. Our Pre-AP students will also learn about the Pythagorean Theorem.

Our next unit of study for ALL students is problem solving involving 2-D and 3-D geometry.


Students are expected to be working on Imagine Math lessons each week. Research shows consistent usage is associated with statistically significant gains on STAAR Mathematics.

This program has access to on-line assistance in the form or hints or actual teachers.

  • Math 7 students must complete (PASS) 4 lessons in a marking period.
  • Pre-AP students must complete (PASS) 8 lessons in a marking period.

  • Marking period 3 ends on January 12th.
  • Marking period 4 ends on February 23rd.


Now that Pre-AP students have completed their grades for science fair, we’re gearing up for our campus science fair on January 23rd! Students who would like to compete should complete a board, and the online paperwork by January 22nd. See science teachers for more information. All students will be moving on to our genetics unit this six weeks, and then the ecology unit after that. Please check in to make sure your child has enough supplies!


William Zinsser once said, “Writing is thinking on paper,” and 7th grade ILA wholeheartedly agrees. To this end, we’ve been doing lots of thinking on paper during our persuasive unit. We’ve analyzed how persuasive techniques can be used in ads and how to persuade our readers to think we are right. In our next unit, we will be gearing up for the writing STAAR. We will read and research a variety of topics. From Abraham Lincoln to current events, your child will have a bank of ideas to pull from when writing on the assessment. On April’s STAAR Writing, students will create an expository essay to answer a prompt. Since we don’t know what the prompt may ask, it is a good idea for your child to have a bank of ideas to write about. Be sure to share current events and share information about family members that have accomplished great things to add to your child’s mind map.

8th Grade

Math/PAP Math/Algebra

During the third six weeks of Math 8 and PAP Math 8, students learned about linear functions. They expanded their knowledge of proportional versus non-proportional relationships and applied this to linear functions. Students also studied financial literacy where they explored the differences and similarities between simple and compound interest and analyzed terms of loans. We had a great first semester and look forward to the students applying their knowledge of linear functions to our next topic of study, systems of equations. It will be another great semester!

PAP Algebra I:

In the 3rd six weeks of school we will have covered through chapter 5 in the Carnegie Algebra I textbook. This included concepts such as Exponent Properties, Sequences, and Exponential Relationships. It has been a busy, yet productive six weeks, and we look forward to all the learning that will take place in the second semester.

Please refer our Google Classroom for more Algebra I information and resources.


Now that Pre-AP students have completed their grades for science fair, we’re gearing up for our campus science fair on January 23rd! Students who would like to compete should complete a board, and the online paperwork by January 22nd. See science teachers for more information. All students will be working on our tectonic plates unit this six weeks, and then the physics unit after that. Please check in to make sure your child has enough supplies!


8th grade Pre-AP ILA

Our students have just completed a unit on persuasion in which they learned a great deal about the power of the media and the most effective way to use appeals to persuade an audience. They are now ready and excited to begin a literary analysis of The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. This journey will take them on the high seas of treason, the daunting influence of power and money, the bitter edge of revenge, along with the promise of perseverance. Clearly our overall theme this year of “Challenges” will be at the heart of this study.

“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you.”
Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

8th grade ILA

Our students just concluded a unit on persuasive writing. They have enjoyed taking a closer look at the influence the media has over them individually and as a society. The students have just completed a persuasive essay over a personal topic of concern using persuasive techniques and appeals to convince their audience of the change they feel is necessary. They are looking forward to beginning a literary analysis of Things Not Seen, by Andrew Clements. According to Publishers Weekly, “The author spins a convincing and affecting story” about an average 15-year-old boy who wakes up one morning and discovers he is literally invisible.

“Because when something impossible happens, everything else comes unglued.” ― Andrew Clements, Things Not Seen


Basketball season is in full swing now. Our teams have been working hard to improve and are continuing to be successful!

Our Cross Country teams finished their season on a high note. Our runners competed at the District cross country meet on December 13th against all other 15 FISD middle schools. The results are below for each grade level:

8th Grade Girls: 2nd place

7th Grade Girls: 1st place!!

8th Grade Boys: 2nd place

7th Grade Boys: 2nd place

Track season is coming soon! Sign ups will begin in a few weeks. Students should listen for announcements to hear the specific sign-up time frame. Any student wanting to participate in track will need a current physical (dated after May 1, 2017) on file with the coaches. There will be a parent meeting held and other paperwork that will be due in order to participate -- check our athletic website frequently as we will be updating it with track information soon:


The Theatre Department is hard at work on our UIL One-Act Play Competition piece, Little Women. This incredible cast was able to complete blocking within a week. The play will run no longer than 40 minutes and will be performed at Griffin at 6pm on February 6 and again at Lone Star HS on February 10. Students in the Tech Theatre course are working on their UIL Design Contest entries, which entails either Costume, Marketing, Hair & Makeup, or Set designs. Next up, we'll have auditions for the Spring Play. The title has yet to be determined. Auditions for that will take place in early March and are open to any Griffin student. Contact for more information.